Mehrnaz Afshar joined the Reignite Academy on our pilot programme and is now a permanent employee with Reed Smith.

We talked to her about her experience:

What’s your career background?

I trained and qualified at Allen & Overy as a finance lawyer in the London and Tokyo offices. I have had the opportunity to work as in house legal counsel at Barclays, UBS and RBS in London, as well as working in Kuala Lumpur developing a Central Bank funded supranational institution.

When and why did your career change tack?

My career changed when I moved back to London from the A&O Tokyo office during the financial crisis.  It proved difficult to return to private practice, despite the breadth of my international experience.

What inspired you to reignite your career again?

After taking a few years out, I was ready and eager to get back my career back on track. When the Reignite team contacted me I was inspired by how they were changing the way that law firms recruit experienced lawyers.

What struggles have you experienced in trying to do so?

I was struggling to get past recruiters due to my non-linear career path.

And how have you made progress?

Through Reignite, law firms were ready to interview me and look past the “gap” on my CV, instead focusing on my experience.

What are you doing now?

I am now a Senior Associate within the Financial Industry Group at Reed Smith, working on groundbreaking impact finance transactions as well as advising on derivatives and securitisation matters. Reed Smith and Reignite have continued to provide me with the tools to upskill, retrain and gain the confidence and network to build my own practice.

What advice would you give to other lawyers looking to reignite their career?

Forget everything recruiters have told you, and then contact the Reignite team.

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